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Free Content Surveillance of Mycobacterium tuberculosis susceptibility to second-line drugs in Hong Kong, 1995–2002, after the implementation of DOTS-Plus

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OBJECTIVE: To determine the trend in changes in susceptibility of Mycobacterium tuberculosis strains, including to second-line drugs, from patients with a history of previous anti-tuberculosis (TB) treatment in a ‘DOTS-Plus’ programme.

METHODS: A retrospective survey of centralised M. tuberculosis laboratory records of all culture-positive cases over an 8-year period. The drug susceptibility of the isolates was determined using the absolute concentration method. Isolates obtained from patients with a history of previous treatment were further analysed for trends of changes in susceptibility to first- and second-line drugs.

RESULTS: Of 1921 patients with a previous history of treatment and positive cultures, 1425 (74.2%) had isolates susceptible to all four first-line drugs, while 176 (9.2%) were multidrug-resistant (MDR-TB). For the MDR-TB group, 101 (57.4%) isolates were sensitive to all second-line drugs, while 30 (17.0%) were resistant to three or more second-line drugs.

CONCLUSION: In a DOTS-Plus programme environment where there is strict control on use of second-line drugs, the prevalence of MDR-TB is low amongst re-treatment cases and the prudent use of second-line drugs in a population with well functioning DOTS-Plus programme does not generate super-resistant strains. In circumstances where most retreatment strains are still susceptible and good laboratory support for detection of MDR cases is available, retreatment using first-line drugs is feasible.
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Keywords: DOTS-Plus; Hong Kong; retreatment cases; second-line anti-tuberculosis drugs; tuberculosis

Document Type: Regular Paper

Affiliations: Public Health Laboratory Centre, Tuberculosis Reference Laboratory, Kowloon, Hong Kong SAR, China

Publication date: 01 June 2004

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  • The International Journal of Tuberculosis and Lung Disease publishes articles on all aspects of lung health, including public health-related issues such as training programmes, cost-benefit analysis, legislation, epidemiology, intervention studies and health systems research. The IJTLD is dedicated to the continuing education of physicians and health personnel and the dissemination of information on tuberculosis and lung health world-wide.

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